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ESPN analyst Bruce Pearl says Calipari working harder than ever and is even better coach now than before


Former Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl, who is now an analyst with ESPN, says there’s no way to truly appreciate the way coach John Calipari has recruited at UK. Kentucky could be in line to have a fifth straight No. 1-ranked recruiting class under Calipari.

“It’s hard to predict something like that could even happen,” Pearl said. “Certainly John at a  place like Kentucky is a perfect marriage. I said the day they hired him that they could not have put anybody better in that position. Kentucky fans worry if you are winning so much that you will leave and if you are losing they pack your bags. But John is great with all that.

“John loves the game and the history of the game. He also wants to put (national championship) banners up on his watch. I think he is working harder now than he ever has. I coached against him a long time. He did one of the best coaching jobs in the history of college basketball when he was at UMass (and took the team to the 1996 Final Four). It’s one of the top four all-time coaching jobs. They didn’t do much before he got there or after he left.”

Pearl says he has seen Calipari “evolve” into a truly elite coach in recent years.

“I see John Calipari running better stuff and he’s much tougher to coach against now than he was when he first started coaching at Memphis,” Pearl said. “They did a little bit of everything then, but they don’t do as much now. However, what they do, they do very, very well. They do fewer things and do them so well that’s why everybody wants to play for him.”

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  1. Juan4UK

    The Maestro!
    I’m telling you all, Cal ought to go down as the Maestro! Just as Rupp went down as The Barron, Cal is the Maestro.
    He is the conductor of a beautiful symphony: The Program, The Team, The Media, The Fans, The Haters and the Recruiting!!
    He brings it all together and conducts like none other before him!!!

    1. Jim Boyers


  2. Anonymous

    WHAT did hell freeze over and I did not hear about it? Bruce Pearl talking good about a KENTUCKY coach, well take that awful orange jacket off him and the truth wins out. It is really kind of scary to think that our coach is so good that even former opponets are saying good things about him and in public too.

  3. Anonymous

    WHAT, did hell freeze over and I did not know about it? Bruce Pearl saying good things about the KENTUCKY coach, well take that orange jacket off of him and the truth wins out! Kind of scary and oh so exciting to think that former opponets are saying good things about the Kentucky coach. And I agree with Juan4UK.

    1. Jim Boyers

      Love, like or hate him, from the rivalry standpoint, Pearl was great as the UT coach.

      He was the perfect foil for UK and added extra excitement to the act of beating the Vols.

      1. larryvaught

        think Pearl is very sincere in his praise of Cal. Told me he’s hoping he gets to do a game or games in rupp Arena this year

  4. Jim Boyers

    If taking brand new players every year and turning them into a Final Four team doesn’t prove to people what a great coach he is, nothing ever will.

    Haters are never going to change, but who really cares?

    In all seriousness, Cal should be going for a 4th straight title this season. At the end of the last 3 years, he has had the best team left in the NCAA, only to fall victim to lesser teams. Both the first 2 came up short of titles because of fluke “off” nights, or we are talking 60’s and 70’s UCLA-like territory. It may yet happen, starting this season.

  5. TrueBlueJohn

    One thing that I have noticed in the past year is the gradual change in the media’s perception of Cal. I have listened to Bruce Pearl make comments about how good of a coach he thinks Cal has become. This morning on the Mike and Mike show, Colin Cowherd, who has been a Cal basher in the past, spoke in glowing terms about him. The next thing that I expect to hear is that Bobby Knight and Pete Thamel have joined the “I love Cal” fan club.

    1. larryvaught

      Whoa. TrueBlue, don’t go that far. Most journalists can be logical, but not Knight and Thamel

    2. LindaS

      TureBlueJohn, hell will freeze over and pigs will fly and little slick quick rick will enter a monastery before booby knightmare and thamel say that!

      1. TrueBlueJohn

        Just a little tongue-in-cheek humor there, Linda.

  6. Jan In Indiana

    The mystery is over now for all of us I admit to being Anonymous, using a different computer did not realize my name was not entered in the correct area, hit post comment once and when it did not show up I retyped it and hit post comment and again nothing so I gave up, then tonight they are both there. SORRY

    1. larryvaught

      That is all right jan. We all do-overs here

  7. LindaS

    I think little orange brucie realizes how much he screwed up and is envious of Cal and what he has now. He has been able to reflect back on what he did and can see how much he lost and how much Cal has. Poor orange brucie. I’m so glad I don’t have to look at the maniac in the orange blazer any longer coaching his team. He was almost an embarrassment the way he conducted himself. It really was hard to watch sometimes.

  8. grant

    never trust a snake and pearl has scales on his belly , never forget that !!! the first chance he can get he would love to hamstring cal.

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